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ATLAS, ATLAS

On 3 December 2020, Ignota in partnership with The Warburg Institute celebrated the launch of two new books, Aby Warburg: Bilderatlas Mnemosyne: The Original and Atlas of Anomalous AI, with Bill Sherman, Ben Vickers, writer and musician K Allado-McDowell, and artist and performer Jenna Sutela. The event featured conversation, performance and hands-on exploration of both books. 

Bilderatlas Mnemosyne: The Original - the folio volume gathers the 63 plates of Warburg’s Atlas – newly photographed from the original, multi-colored images and the 20 panels from the previous versions in black and white, along with essays by Axel Heil, Roberto Ohrt, Bernd Scherer, Bill Sherman and Claudia Wedepohl. 

Atlas of Anomalous AI is a compelling and surprising map of our complex relationship to intelligence, from ancient to emerging systems of knowledge. A wildly associative constellation of ideas, stories, artworks and historical materials, the Atlas draws on Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas — an image map of the ‘afterlife of antiquity’ — to approach the defining concepts of AI from an imaginative, artistic and revitalising perspective. The compendium is made up of contributions from over 25 leading thinkers, artists, philosophers and engineers, including Blaise Agüera y Arcas, Ramon Amaro, Jorge Luis Borges, Federico Campagna, Catherine Malabou, William Blake, Ithell Colquhoun, DeepDream, Pierre Huyghe, C. G. Jung, Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, Casey Reas, Jenna Sutela, Suzanne Treister and Hito Steyerl.

K Allado-McDowell is a writer, speaker, and consultant to cultural, artistic, and technological institutions that seek to align their work with larger traditions of human understanding. Allado-McDowell established the Artists + Machine Intelligence program at Google AI. They are the co-editor, with Ben Vickers, of the Atlas of Anomalous AI. Allado-McDowell records and releases music under the name Qenric.

Jenna Sutela works with words, sounds, and other living media, such as Bacillus subtilis nattō bacteria and the “many-headed” slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Her audiovisual pieces, sculptures, and performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Sutela's work has been presented at museums and art contexts internationally, including Guggenheim Bilbao, Moderna Museet, Serpentine Galleries, and, most recently, Shanghai Biennale and Liverpool Biennial. She was a Visiting Artist at The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) in 2019-21.

Ben Vickers is a curator, writer, publisher and technologist. He is Co-Director of Ignota Books and serves on the boards and advisory panels for Light Art Space, Transmediale, Kadist, Future City, Auto Italia, Furtherfield, Complex Earth, SXSW Arts Programme, a/political and the Warburg Institute in London.